tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC March 11, 2012 7:00am-7:30am EDT
good economic news, bad news for the republicans. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews. leading off want to, raining on the parade. here's how now yoe republicans are spooked by today's strong jobs report. speaker john boehner called it a testament to the hard work and entrepreneurship of the american people. eric cantor said we know the jobs aren't created by washington. michele bachmann said this president still doesn't understand that government doesn't create jobs. funny, isn't it, that these same republicans don't hesitate to talk again and again, giving credit to ronald reagan for creating job growth back in the 1980s. republicans know the better the
economy, the worse it is for them this november. plus, giving newt the boot. rick santorum has been saying it all week and said it again today. it's quitting time for newt gingrich. what santorum needs, of course s what mitt romney fears. an unobstructed race between the two. also, voter i.d. laws are being passed, allegedly to stop voter fraud. are those new rules really to make voting harder? now for tonight's off the waller. sarah palin says the problem with barack obama is that he wasn't properly vetted back in '08. why would she try out that little sugar plum on the same weekend the game change is coming out? what a movie and what it says about politics at our highest level. we begin with the economy. susan page is washington bureau chief for "usa today." david corny is a political analyst.
this economic news today, the number is at 8.3. i thought it might go up. it didn't. also, a half million people joining the work force. >> a third good month of job news. things moving in the right direction for the president. unemployment still pretty high. 8.3%, historically high. no president re-elected with numbers like that. but moving in the right direction. that's the best possible news for barack obama. >> it's steady but not dramatically good. in other words, he's not getting into a situation where it's going to go up down to 8 and pop up to 9. >> the trend line is positive. it takes about 150,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth and other matters. if we want to get back the jobs that were lost in the bush/cheney recession, you have to add -- >> but three times that many people join the work force this time, making it all the harder for that 8.3 to hold. >> what i'm saying it if you get over 200,000, it means you are chipping away at this jobs deficit, which is good news.
more would be better. >> how did republicans respond? well, the economy added 227,000 jobs in february. with denial. listen to this statement by the chairman of the republican national committee. today's job report is jet another reminder that far too many americans are out of work, and the situation is clearly not improving. it's actually the opposite of that. anyway, the unemployment rate has been dropping for some time. in october, it stood at 9%. it's now down to 8.3. economists say the reason it stayed at 8.3% is because more people re-entered the work force. a lot of people were dumping on the numbers saying people gave up. no, three times as many as usual have joined. >> as things look better, more people who have been discouraged
workers will probably jump into the work force. that could make the jobless rate go up a little bit in the future. it's basically good news. >> so i'm going to leave you with this. mitt romney, not exactly mr. excitement. he's one ace in the hole. he's the turn around man. he comes into a slovenly run company and turns it around like he did the olympics or at bane capital. how does he say i'm going to turn things around if they're going in the right direction in then a u-turn means back to bush. >> what he said today was if i were in charge, things would be even better. but it's a complicated argument to make. that's the argument barack obama made in 2010. things are bad, everybody is miserable, but if i was in charge, it wouldn't be as bad. even though we're going in the right direction, if you change
horses, you'll go a little faster. >> so people judge events by events. >> it's not something you can spin. you can talk about iran and syria, spin it this way or that way. people know. >> they know how they feel about the economy. as we've seen in politics in the past, sometimes public perception is out of sync with what the economy is actually doing. sometimes they think it's worse than it is or better. if they feel it's a positive trend line, they don't want to turn around. you're right. mitt romney's arguing has to be that he's going to accelerate. >> sorry, david. here he is. he put out a statement today. he put it out by paper. quote, president obama promised that he would turn the economy around, but millions of americans are struggling for work and the economy is not adding jobs at a efficient pace. what would a second obama term mean for the economy? another four years of no jobs. that shows he's chicken. the president spoke about the
positive jobs numbers at an event in virginia. let's watch. >> we're still recovering from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes. we've got a lot of work to do before everybody who wants a good job can find one. but here's the good news. over the past two years, our businesses have added nearly 4 million new jobs. we just found out that last month in february we added 233,000 private sector jobs. so the economy is getting stronger. when i come to places like this and see the work that's being done, it gives me confidence there are better days ahead. >> the president today down in virginia. well, the president has had a run of good news lately, of course. though, of course, there is still a long time to go before the election.
here's how johnathan cheney put it in the new york magazine. quote, why has obama improved his standing? pretty much everything has moved his way all at once. the recovery, which stalled last year, is picking up speed. perceptions of the economy are improving along with it, as you said. the republican candidates have all hurdled rightward and lost popularity in the center. obama has been able to establish a contrast against a wildly unpopular republican house rather than let himself to be sucked down into its dysfunction. so at the very time he got the house to finally agree to continue the reduction in payroll taxes, which he had to do. he won that. some people think that was his turn around. >> you know, here's one -- if you want to look at the other side of things, you could say, so why isn't president obama doing better at a time when republicans are beating each other up and the economy's getting better? he continues to have a not sterling approval rating. his average approval rating in february was 45%. today, i think, it was at 48%, which is better. there continues to be a case you
could make against president obama. you notice he wasn't really triumphant in that speech in virginia. a year ago, we had a similar situation with jobs numbers. we thought we were getting out of this recession. things happened in the world. >> so he's still hedging on the possible of another dip. >> it's still possible. it's a long way to november. >> you're going to hear the republicans talk even more than they have been about gasoline prices. as the jobs numbers get better, they're going to use that as the battled field. we saw greece. we saw the japan meltdown. they're talking about maybe a war with iran. all these things could turn on a moment's notice. after the debt ceiling where he hit the lowest he's been in a while, and congress did, he was able to pull himself up. >> have a nice weekend. coming up, rick santorum wants newt gingrich out of the race so he can have a one on one with mitt romney. will he get it? we'll see.
welcome back to "hardball." as the republican primary race heads south to alabama, mississippi next week, actually, it's already there, rick santorum argues the only thing between him and the white house, catch the phrasing, the only thing between him and the white house is newt gingrich. take a listen. >> if you go out and deliver a conservative victory for us on tuesday, this race will become a two-person race, and when it becomes a two-person race for the republican nomination, the conservative will win that
nomination. and when a conservative wins the nomination, we will defeat barack obama in the general election. >> i love that clarity. anyway, with gingrich pledging to take his campaign all the wa to tampa, we're looking at a long and bitter spring and a long time before any candidate can nail down the nomination. let me put my cards on the table. my point of view. i want a one-on-one race. i want a fight between the true conservatives in the republican party and mitt romney, who i believe deep down is a moderate republican from massachusetts. just like when he was. that's my view. i admit my prejudice. i want a fight. rick, i think your guy is the road hog stopping that from happening. why doesn't he let a conservative who has a chance to knock off romney do it and get out of the way so it can happen?
>> well, first of all, rick santorum is not a conservative. he's a big government republican. he voted to raise the debt limit five times. >> okay, you got the talking points. there's not a single person watching right now, rick, who thinks that's anything but political blather. we all know the american people -- he's a conservative. rick santorum is a conservative. >> compared to you, chris, he's a conservative. >> no, no. he's a conservative. what was his ada rating? five? what are you talking about? >> newt gingrich has a higher rating than rick santorum. >> i don't deny he has a higher one. either way, we're not getting anywhere. how much money has been agreed to you guys to keep going in this race? how far will he go with your candidacy? >> i'm not going to talk about do no, sir and how much is in there. did you also know that rick
santorum has fewer pledged delegates thank newt gingrich? of course he wants to newt to get out of the race because newt is currently ahead in alabama and mississippi. >> so you're saying your guy is going to win in alabama and mississippi? if so, you win the argument. let me go over to chip. how do you see those two hot races in dixie going next tuesday? newt has been able to win contiguously. he won in panhandle. he won in his home state of georgia. based upon his geographic strength in the southeast, he could win alabama. i guess he could win potentially another one. who do you see winning of those three? >> it's really tight. i think mitt romney's going very well down in alabama from the polling i've seen and from the people i've talked to. newt gingrich and santorum -- it's a three-way race in those states right now. i think it's going to be very, very close next week. when i've run if contested primaries, i would have loved in 2008 if everybody would have dropped out and mike huckabee would have been the nominee. >> that's a stupid comment.
anybody can say that. santorum said that. >> why should newt get out so somebody else can have a one-on-one race? >> shouldn't there be an effective runoff? there's eventually a battle between the two top teams or the two top candidates. that's what people like. wouldn't it be good for the republican party where the two top candidates duke it out? >> i think we start it out, we had 12 candidates running. they've all dropped out for other reasons. until somebody gets 1144, i think everybody has a right to stay in. >> i don't deny the right. doesn't the voter have a right to a clear-cut choice between two people? >> they're having their say every couple days right now. they had their say last week in ohio and super tuesday and nine other states. >> this is why we don't have three parties in this country. it messes things up. here's gingrich, by the way, on fox last night describing how he
sees the race. let's watch. >> we have a real race. it's basically a three-way race with ron paul as a fourth candidate, who's getting his percentage. you know, for a long stretch, i was either in first place, or i was clearly in second place during that entire period. senator santorum declined to leave. now suddenly he's in better shape. he would now like me to leave. i think this is just all a game. he and i would both like romney to leave. the fact is everybody would like to end this on their terms. i think this is going to go on problem certainly into june. >> that was ridiculous. nobody thinks romney is getting out. he's leading. in an interview this morning, gingrich pledged not give up. let's listen. >> are you pledging, speaker gingrich, to stay in until the convention? >> i'm going to be all the way to tampa. there's no question in my mind. i think it's important to win alabama. it's important to win mississippi. i also have 174,000 donors, 95% of them under $250. i think they want to see a big
solution, ronald reagan-style visionary candidate. >> okay. a lot of donors under $250 and one way above $250. rick, give me a scenario that's good for your candidate? how does it work well for him from now until tampa and on to november? what's a good scenario for newt gingrich to come out a winner in this whole process? >> well, the best scenario obviously is that he wins alabama and mississippi. then he gains some momentum from there. as rick santorum -- you can look up his record, but he's not a conservative. i think he gains momentum from there. by the way, the romney campaign has put out all this math where it's impossible for rick santorum or newt gingrich to reach the delegates he's now claiming for himself. while i'll admit it may be improbable, it is also equally improbable, if not impossible, that mitt romney actually gets to the convention with the right number of delegates.
if newt gingrich were to drop out and leave the voters with no conservative choice at all, mitt romney would crush rick santorum and he would be our nominee. >> you know, when newt gingrich was speaker of the house and was responsible for getting the debt ceiling passed every year, wasn't that something you have as a reality in your own background for your candidate? >> well, when newt gingrich was speaker, the budget was balanced under his leadership for four years in a row. >> yeah, but he was speaker for longer than that. so he never had to raise the debt ceiling. >> he also paid off -- >> he never raised the debt ceiling. you're saying he never raised the debt ceiling? >> i'd have to look at his record. >> i know. but you're attacking the other guy for doing something you don't know about your own candidate. let's move over to somebody who knows what they're talking about. >> chris -- >> no, seriously. you can't attack without knowing your own candidate's records, have you? >> i just did. >> i'm being too tough. it's friday.
nobody has no know everything. let me ask you this. you think your candidate has a chance to be president of the united states, rick? really? is that what this is about, or is it a grudge match? by the way, i might be in a grudge match after what they did to newt in iowa. i was watching the destruction of this guy's reputation by a guy with more money. not a better person, just more money. i might be mad too. that might be a reason to stay in a race. is it's newt's? >> chris, i'm like you. i've never known newt gingrich to hold a grudge. i think he's in it because he believes he's the only one that can beat barack obama. i believe him. the other two have been about accommodating washington. certainly rick perry has been about accommodating washington. mitt romney does not have a jobs record. he's number 47th. he invented romney-care, which we now have obama-care. rick santorum endorsed the deciding vote. while romney invented obama-care, santorum gave us obama-care.
>> thanks, chip, for being our nonpartisan expert. up next, pot meet kettle. sarah palin says barack obama wasn't properly vetted. do you believe it? pot meet kettle. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. for the spender who needs a little help saving. for adding "& sons." for the dreamer, planning an early escape. for the mother of the bride. for whoever you are, for whatever you're trying to achieve, pnc has technology, guidance, and over 150 years of experience to help you get there. ♪ delicious gourmet gravy. and she agrees. with fancy feast gravy lovers, your cat can enjoy the delicious, satisfying taste of gourmet gravy every day.
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back to "hardball." now for the side show. first up, the vetting game. if you've seen any previews of hbo's "game change" you know about the upheaval that ensued within the mccain campaign when the vetting of sarah palin fell through the cracks. now let's listen to what sarah palin to to say herself about how the gop race is shaping up. >> nothing is inevitable.
i do appreciate that these men are continuing to duke it out in the arena of ideas and are allowing themselves to be vetted. so thank you, gentlemen, who are running on the gop ticket, staying in there, allowing yourselves to be vetted by the media because they didn't do it when barack obama ran. >> wow. two words, game change. don't miss it. what a movie. next up, dance the night away. take a look at what newt gingrich was up to in the wee hours of the morning earlier this week after arriving in jackson, mississippi. it was 2 a.m. in the morning when this was going on. what prompted that impromptu serenade? here's what newt had to say about it last night on fox. >> you know, callista warned me. since we already agreed to come on, i figured i couldn't back out. we got in fairly late last night into jackson. we had been campaigning non-stop, as you know, in georgia. had really campaigned very, very hard. we took about a two-hour vacation from the campaign.
>> i guess people with santorum are hoping he takes more than a two-hour break next time. that they take a long dance break from the whole thing. finally, giving it another go. last week we heard rick santorum say that president kennedy's 1960s speech on the separation of church and state made him, rick santorum, want to throw up. he's since said he regrets those words. when back at it again in alabama, let's listen. >> the language i used was at a minimum, inarticulate. but what it showed was maybe years of frustration. what president kennedy had done in his first opening statement in the speech was i believe in america where the separation of church and state is absolute. that's not america. that's france. that's a naked public square where people of faith are out of bounds. >> okay.
so this time he knocks kennedy and then takes a crack at the french. besides, that's "hardball" for now. coming up next, "your business" with j.j. ramberg. here's to more saturdays in the sun. and budgets better spent. here's to turning rookies - into experts, and shoppers into savers. here's to picking up. trading up. mixing it up. to well-earned muddy boots. and a lot more - spring per dollar. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. show the yard who's boss, with this cordless black and decker trimmer, just $84.97. fight both fast with new tums freshers! concentrated relief that goes to work in seconds and freshens breath. new tums freshers. ♪ tum...tum...tum...tum... tums! ♪ [ male announcer ] fast relief, fresh breath, all in a pocket sized pack.
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